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Chapter 8: Paleo Food Guide

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Shopping for foods that are Paleo friendly can be a daunting task when you’re first starting out. What’s allowed and what’s not? What are all of those mystery ingredients that are listed on food labels? For the most part, stocking your refrigerator and pantry is fairly simple, but there are going to be times when you don’t want to eat just steak and broccoli, and there will be other times when you need something fast and simple. Don’t worry—you’ll get the hang of it.

There are a few different versions of the Paleo diet, but for the sake of this discussion, we’re going to take the modern middle road so that it’s easier for you to make the transition to your new, healthier lifestyle. Throughout the following pages, we’re going to discuss what foods are okay and where you can find them. We’ll also discuss some alternate ingredients for baking bread and other goodies that won’t get you kicked out of the cave!

The first bit of good news is that you’re not going to be counting calories. Instead, you’re going to try to keep your portions in line with what your ancestors most likely ate. A diet that consists of 50 to 60 percent protein, 30 to 40 percent healthy carbs, and 5 to 10 percent healthy vegetable fats such as extra-virgin olive oil, avocados, nuts, and seeds is the general goal.

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Chapter 6: The Benefits of Paleo

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Many people turn to the Paleo diet because of the weight-loss benefits, but that’s not where the idea originated. If you remember, the diet was created by a gastroenterologist to help his patients with various disorders. Of course, weight loss is a wonderful side effect that has its own set of healthy benefits.

When you add in the myriad other perks, going caveman is almost a no-brainer. Let’s take a quick peek at some of the biggest health benefits of following a Paleo diet.

Because this is one of the primary reasons many people decide to switch to a Paleo diet, we’ll start here. Because you’re eliminating empty carbs and adding in lots of healthful plant fiber and lean protein, losing weight will be much easier. A few other factors that contribute to healthy weight loss include:

The bottom line is you will be consuming foods that help your body function the way that it’s supposed to, and one of the natural side effects of that is weight loss.

The theory behind the Paleo diet is that eating grains, dairy, and other foods on the excluded list can cause digestive upset, inflammation, and discomfort because our bodies aren’t adapted to eating them. Also, your digestive tract needs fiber to help it sweep food through your system, otherwise it builds up and causes problems. Some of the conditions that may be improved by going caveman include:

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Chapter 2: Savory Breads

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Some Paleo enthusiasts are adamantly against using yeast in recipes. However, the active yeast used in baking is closely related to the beneficial yeast found in fermented foods, so it can be included without guilt or adverse health reactions. When making this lovely bread, take care because yeast can be a finicky ingredient that needs a very specific temperature to rise. If your water is below 100 degrees F, a leaking amino acid creates a sticky dough, and if the water heats to over 130 degrees F, the yeast will die. This bread is lovely for sandwiches or when toasted with a dab of almond butter.

1. Pour the warm water into a large bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top. Let sit for about 5–10 minutes until the yeast starts to foam.

2. Add the eggs, coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, and honey to the yeast mixture, and stir to combine. Let mixture sit for about 3 minutes.

3. In a medium bowl, stir together the dry ingredients.

4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix, by hand if you have to, until well incorporated.

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Chapter 5: Paleo Diet Basics

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Whether modern health care professionals want to admit it or not, the Paleo diet closely mirrors what most of them tell their patients: Eat more fruits, vegetables, and lean meats, and stay away from processed garbage. The diet, also known as the Stone Age diet, the caveman diet, and the hunter-gatherer diet, has gained a significant following in recent years, and there’s some pretty good research to support the switch.

Back in the 1970s a gastroenterologist by the name of Walter L. Voegtlin observed that digestive diseases such as colitis, Crohn’s disease, and irritable bowel syndrome were much more prevalent in people who followed a modern Western diet versus those whose diet consisted largely of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and lean meats. He began treating patients with these disorders by recommending diets low in carbohydrates and high in animal fats.

Unfortunately, the medical world simply wasn’t ready to give up the idea that a low-fat, low-calorie diet was the healthiest way to eat, so Dr. Voegtlin’s observations and research went largely unnoticed, and the Paleo diet was shoved to the back of the drawer.

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Chapter 3: Sweet Breads

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Great banana bread is a valuable staple recipe because it can be a perfect gift, a satisfying snack, and an energy-packed way to start the day. Bananas contain potassium, which can help regulate blood pressure and help muscles to contract properly without cramping up. The warm spices in this recipe also have health benefits such as regulating healthy glucose levels in the blood and lowering blood pressure.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a large bowl, sift together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla until well combined. Whisk the banana and shredded coconut into the wet ingredients.

4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir together until just combined. Do not overmix the batter or the bread will be too dense.

5. Lightly grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and dust it with the almond flour.

6. Spoon the batter in the loaf pan, and bake for about 55 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

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